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Pima County begins transitioning vaccine sites indoors in anticipation of summer heat

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TUCSON (KVOA) - The Tucson Convention Center vaccine location is the only large vaccine pod across Pima County that currently operates all indoors. 

However, that's about to change as the county and the many people who still need shots in their arms, gear up for the summer heat. 

The staff on-site at the TCC vaccine pod estimates 1,200 shots can be administered every day. 

More than 60,000 have been given since the pod first opened and this well-executed plan is a team effort between Pima County and the City of Tucson. 

"Our staffs work together to get this vaccine into the arms of our community and ensure that in the process, we make sure that the public health is protected and that would include making sure people are protected from our heat which is going to begin to get pretty intense fast," Andy Squire, a spokesman for the city said. 

With the temperatures rising in Southern Arizona, Pima County leaders are transitioning outdoor vaccine pods to air-conditioned indoor facilities. 
TMC will move to an indoor location later this month. 

"Tucson Medical Center we plan on moving them indoor to Udall Park starting the 19th," PCHD Program Manager Spencer Graves said. 

Graves tells News 4 Tucson the Banner South site at Kino Stadium will stay outdoors for now. 

"As we go forward, we are doing heat studies in all locations so that if there is a need for an on and off period for the staff, we can identify that and get extra staff their to help supplement," Graves said. 

With the heat comes concerns about spoiled vaccine doses if left outside too long.

"If you have a vaccine out in the open air, you can only keep it out there for about 15 minutes so you have to have ample storage, cold storage for that on-site and then you have to increase your amount of transportation to and from due to the lower amount of doses being out," Graves said.

On Monday afternoon, the county announced the Kino Event Center at 2805 E. Ajo Way is the newest vaccine pod and will open its doors on Monday, April 12. 

The site's hours will be Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Registration for appointments begins on Friday. 

To register, visit pima.gov/covid19vaccine.

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Eric Fink

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